Vivo COO: Firm to Invest in OS and Chips to Stand Out in High-End Smartphone Market

Chinese smartphone manufacturer vivo recently held a meeting regarding its innovation strategy at the company’s headquarters in Dongguan, Guangdong Province. Hu Baishan, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at vivo, expounded vivo’s high-end target strategy and the latest progress to the media for the first time. “User-oriented”, “competition in long-term fields”, “innovation on underlying technologies”, “steady evolution” and “differentiation strategy” are the five key words of the firm’s strategy.

vivo X90 Pro+ (Source: vivo)

According to Hu Baishan, vivo’s first technical strategic focus is on chips. At the underlying chip level, vivo has completed two generations of image chips, namely the V1 and V2, which are defined as coprocessor chips. They mainly focus on improving the imaging experience for users. Next will be the V3 chip. “A sample of V3 will come out soon, which will be ready for the second half of next year.” Hu Baishan said that vivo will not invest in the main SoC of mobile phones, but choose to focus on subdivisional and functional chips.

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The optimization of the company’s smartphone operating system is the second strategic focus. The company already customizes and transforms the kernel of OriginOS for multiple purposes, including computing, storage and display, and to make innovations and breakthroughs at the underlying level. The company now has 3,000 employees in its OS product teams, and has formed a complete strategic framework and process in its OS kernel, framework and ecological layout.

In 2021, vivo decided to “make continuous investment in long-term innovations”, and established a central academy, which is dedicated to exploring the cutting-edge technology of uncertainty. In this meeting, four organizations under the academy were also unveiled for the first time.

The user innovation laboratory under the vivo central academy, based on human factors engineering research, conducts trend insight, scenario construction and traction of new technologies. The XR laboratory is positioned for the incubation of key XR technologies and new product forms. The chip lab focuses on self-developed chips. The foreign cooperation center is a trio of organizations comprising of resources, intelligence and an “incubator”, which integrates global resources. The layout of vivo central academy and the technical organization formed within the company gives it a more sustainable R&D outlay.

In recent years, vivo’s high-end target has been steadily progressing. In 2021, the sales volume of vivo products priced above 3,500 yuan ($503) doubled compared with that of 2018. At the same time, the average selling price of vivo flagship products has also steadily increased with the average price of the whole series increasing from less than 4,000 yuan in 2018 to nearly 5,000 yuan in 2021.

Hu Baishan also said that vivo will still operate with heart and go all out in the Indian market, stating “We know more and more about users in the Indian market.” He said that, although its high-end share of the Indian market has declined due to currency depreciation and other factors, the overall performance of the company in the Indian market is very good. “We are still very confident in our products in 2023.”